Forest officials in India’s southern Tamil Nadu state said they used a crane to pull an elephant from a well after working for more than 12 hours to rescue the animal.

The elephant, which strayed into a village bordering a forest in Tamil Nadu’s Dharmapuri district, fell into the well that was covered with bushes and did not have a fence or wall around it, Rajkumar, the district forest officer, said.

Two other elephants have fallen into such wells in the past year in the area.

Destruction of forests, rapid urbanisation and rising village populations have led animals to venture close to human settlements in India.

“It was a deep and narrow well,” said Rajkumar, who goes by one name. “We were informed by locals early on Thursday and were able to retrieve the elephant only late in the night.”

Forest officials first started by clearing the bushes around the well and then tried to pump water out. But the elephant attacked the pipes pumping out the water, according to Rajkumar.

“Eventually, we sedated the animal with the help of doctors and used a crane to lift it out of the well,” Rajkumar said.

“It was found to be healthy and active when we monitored it for three hours after the rescue.”

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